Introduction: Solar Powered Go Kart

In this project we took a go kart frame designed to take a gas engine and made it electric and solar powered. It uses a 48V SLA battery pack with a EMC-ME0909 Brushed DC motor, 0-5k Ohm Pot Box throttle, Alltrax 4834 controller and an Astronergy 5612M 190W solar panel to charge the pack. Runs great with a top speed of ~20-25mph, and because of the solar panel a potentially infinite range!

A full description of this project can be seen at

A description of all of the parts, the cost of the parts and where we go the parts from is available as a PDF at this link here. The PDF also includes some notes about the electrical design. The entire project cost about $2500, including shipping on the parts. Some welding and machine work was required.

The baseline of the electrical system is from the Alltrax electrical diagram for EVs, at this link here. It has wall chargers but the primary source of energy is the solar panel on the roof of the kart, which is always on and always charging.

I hope this inspires others to realize that there is no need to wait, the time is now to build solar powered EVs that run off the sun!

This project was sponsored by The Brian Robertson Foundation and

Engineers Who Built It:

Will Bagienski , Adam Plesniak , Luis Torres


jem sands (author)2017-06-10


fglc0983 (author)2016-11-26

I've really enjoyed reading about your project, and kudos to your success! I had a question regarding the 3A battery chargers you used. I'm new to solar, so I am just trying to figure out all the little odds and ends. Are the wall chargers necessary, or could the solar charge controller be left to handle charging the batteries?

DaltonD4 (author)2016-04-21

My class is building a solar go kart but we don't know what size motor and what solar panels we need. Can someone help me with that?

skumu (author)2016-02-11

Hello,I am a student also working on Solar Powered Electric Go-Kart. Is possible to figure out theoretically relation between current

supplied to motor and speed outputted ? Or between power and speed ? Like If I have 350 W and I am going 5mph for how far I can get? ( Theoretically cause I know I speed is not always constant and there is wind, friction, and other)

RenewableYou (author)skumu2016-02-11

Well, 350W is a measure of power, but if you to find out how far you can get at a certain speed you need to talk about energy, which is power over time. It is certainly possible to relate the current / voltage of a battery to the distance you can travel in an EV. The relationship of power and speed depends on many things, such as the gearing of the system, ect.

DaltonD4 (author)RenewableYou2016-04-21

We are building a solar go kart. What do I need

SkS19 (author)2016-01-10

Hello Sir, I'm working on this model. Can you please tell me the dimensions of this kart.

Rowster09 (author)2015-11-30

awesome! i'm going to try to make that

RajatS16 (author)2015-09-23

hello sir...i m working over dis project and i need to know dat which type of brakes will be most suitable for solar go kart with its max speed 30-40mph.

847MicRoss (author)2014-04-18

I don't have much info on this project but here's what I know.

Location : Freedom Field , Rockford Illinois

Its a 250 watt panel , top speed of 30mph

rpradeep1 (author)847MicRoss2015-06-13

have u made thi project

flynn.gregory.7 (author)2015-04-03

Can the solar panel power the motor with the power from the batteries?

ankita ranjan (author)2014-03-20

we are making a solar powered vehicle as our project.So,we wanted to know about the motor specifications for a vehicle weighing 300 kg, including the persons weight .We wanted to know about the speed controller specifications too. Our vehicle have 2 solar panels giving total of 200 W as output .

Hi Ankita. 300kg, inclusive of the passenger weight, is about the weight that we had on this project, therefore I recommend a motor and controller similar to what we used. The best reference for our work is this document ( The other great reference is the circuit diagram from Electric Motorsport, which is at this link (

ELLINAJ1023 (author)2012-12-13

how does a 15hp brushed dc motor run with 190W solar panel source?

RenewableYou (author)ELLINAJ10232012-12-24

The panel is 190W rated, 24V wired. The 24V panel charges the 24V battery pack via a Morningstar charge controller. Then the 24V pack runs the motor via a PWM motor controller set to run on a 24V circuit. Most of the info is in the video and the parts list.

oldskoolhead (author)2012-10-18

i was thinking i could put a roof on my electric bike and add a solar pannel but thought a 200w solar pannel would likely be too big for a bike and possibly unsafe in the wind, though they do have rooves on those bmw bikes but not quite this big lol
i was wondering if it was 200-250w had pedals and restricted to 15.5mph could 1 of these be driven on the uk roads under the same legal status as an ebike requireing no licence tax mot insurance etc coz i would so build one lol

czhanacek (author)2012-07-08

My friends and I were thinking that something like this would be a great summer project. This will certainly give us some great ideas. Thank you!!!

RenewableYou (author)czhanacek2012-07-09

Certainly, you are welcome. I highly recommend it.

MacOSJoey (author)2012-07-03

About how many amp-hours does your battery bank hold? Also, how many miles can it get per a charge (or can it go unlimited due to constant solar recharging)?

Very cool project and very nicely done! Wish there would have been a step by step though on the project, but nonetheless very nice!

MacOSJoey (author)MacOSJoey2012-07-03

Also, regenerative braking might save a ton of that energy for use later!

Do you have any problems with the metal hood shorting the batteries? That could be a big problem if your on a rougher terrain.

RenewableYou (author)MacOSJoey2012-07-03

For all those who are interested in this project, you can get a ReGen capability if you use a different Alltrax controller. I would reach out to AllTrax directly for the best information.

The metal hood is fairly far away from the battery terminals, but we do protect the circuit with a 250A fuse.

RenewableYou (author)MacOSJoey2012-07-03

Thanks! Each battery is a 50 Ahr, 12V. Two in series is 24V, 50 Ahr. Now, don't take my math to the bank, but I believe we are pulling around 350W at a steady 20mph on the cart. Say it is really sunny outside and we are getting 170W from the solar panel, that means we are effectively using the difference, 180W. At 24V, that is 7.5A continuous, so at a depth of discharge at 50%, that's 3.3 hrs of run time. At 20mph, that's 66 miles.

We will consider adding a PDF link with some step by step. Almost everything was off the shelf. The go kart came pre-assembled, the rest of the parts just needed to be mounted and wired.

jackjackboom (author)2012-06-29

Love your shop!!!


kbanbury (author)2012-06-25

THAT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

RenewableYou (author)kbanbury2012-06-25


About This Instructable




Bio: Enjoying projects which look at different ways of sourcing and using energy.
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